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St Edeyrn's church, Llanedeyrn

Llanedeyrn (Welsh: Llanedern) is a former village, now a district and community, in the east of the city of Cardiff, Wales, located around 3.5 miles from the city centre. The parish of Llanedeyrn rests on the banks of the river Rhymney and is visible nesting on a hill side above the A48(M), westbound on the approach into Cardiff.

The name[edit]

The name used in English "Llanedeyrn" is in fact the perpetuation of an erroneous Welsh form.

In Welsh, the name as it stands is pronounced [ɬanˡe·dəɪrn]. In English, it is pronounced [lanˡɛdɪn] as if the name were Lanedin,[1] with Welsh [ɬ] becoming [l], and the difficult, for non-Welsh-speakers, “Edeyrn” becoming an easier “Edin”, perhaps from familiarity with the name of the Scottish city of Edinburgh.

The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (The Lives of the British Saints, 1908) states that there has been confusion between the names Edern and Edeyrn, and that Edern is "the Latin Aeternus, but it is commonly written in later Welsh Edeyrn, which is really a different name".[2] The name “Aeternus”, or “Eternus” means “eternal, everlasting”.

One reason for Edeyrn instead of Edern might have been a belief that it was based on Welsh “teyrn” (“king, prince, lord” in earlier Welsh, though nowadays “tyrant, despot, oppressor”)

Most earlier forms of the name show it be Llanedern [ɬanˡe·dɛrn], although a couple do show “Edeyrn”. The meaning is "church (of) Edern".

The local pronunciation when Gwentian Welsh was spoken here (until the early 1900s) was based on Llanedern. It was Llanetarn [ɬanˡe·tarn],[3] showing the typical south-eastern change of final-syllable /e/ to /a/ (also a feature of north-western Welsh, in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn) and the provection of /d/ to /t/ at the beginning of a penultimate syllable.

A more standard form of this is Llanedarn (south-eastern provection being a somewhat stigmatised feature in Welsh), and this is the form used by Samuel Lewis in 1834 in his Topographical Dictionary Of Wales. He adds “Llan-edeyrn” in brackets after “Llanedarn”.[4]

John Hobson Mathews (Mab Cernyw), editor of the “Cardiff Records, Being Materials For A History Of The County Borough From The Earliest Times” mentions Llanedern in Volume 5 (1905), in the “Schedule of Place Names”.

“LLANEDERN (the church of Saint Eternus.) A village and parish in the Hundred of Cibwr, three miles north-east from Cardiff, on the main Roman road….”

He remarks further that “Llanedeyrn” is incorrect as it is not the historical form, as too is Llanedarn (which he spells with a final “e” – “Llanedarne”) because it is a colloquial form. “The spellings "Llanedeyrn" and "Llanedarne" are alike erroneous; the first is founded on mistaken etymology, the second a barbarism.”[5]

There are other places in Wales named after the Celtic saint Edern (such as the village of Edern, in Gwynedd, formerly spelt Edeyrn), and Bodedern (“dwelling / church (of) Edern”) in Anglesey.

There are villages too in western Brittany with his name - one named Edern in both Breton and French, and another called in Breton Lannedern (Lannédern in French), an exact equivalent of Cardiff's Llanedern / Llanedeyrn. There is also a village Plouedern (Breton) / Plouédern (French) (“parish (of) Edern”).


The village name is believed to refer to a 6th-century prince and Celtic saint named St Edeyrn or Edern.[6]

During the 6th century, St Edeyrn and a fellow monk, St Isan, were given the task of spreading the faith and establishing places of worship. The first location chosen by the two monks was Llanishen. This name commemorates St Isan (Llan + Isan) and the other[clarification needed] St Edeyrn (Llan means church or parish in the Welsh language). St Edeyrn was reputed to have travelled widely, and as a result there are churches in North and South Wales dedicated to his memory. St Edeyrn gathered together a community of about 300 that lived and worshipped in the Llanedeyrn area.

The original Norman-style church dating back to 1123 exists only as stonework remnants beneath restoration work completed in 1888; the church today is a simple structure with a tower and six bells. Adjacent to this church is a public house called the Unicorn. The building dates to the 14th century and was converted[clarification needed] in the late 18th century.[6]

Nearby in Pen-y-Groes (Welsh: Pen-y-groes) a Calvinistic Methodist school room and chapel was built in 1840.

Comprising only a few buildings, Llanedeyrn became part of Cardiff in 1889.[6]

In the late 1960s, Cardiff Council decided to build low cost social housing in Llanedeyrn, with an estimated 3,500 homes to be erected for 12,000 poor people (2,000 homes owned by the city council and 1,500 private homes). The first of the estates in the area was opened in 1968. The council provided prefabricated and terraced houses, and many two-, three- and multi-storey blocks of flats were constructed.

In 1974 the Maelfa shopping centre was built[6] and a part-time police station was opened, followed in 1975 by the Retreat public house next door. The public house "The Pennsylvania", dating from 1972, closed down and reopened in 2004 as the "New Penn".[7]

The area also had the first comprehensive school built in Wales, Llanedeyrn High School, which Colin Jackson attended in his youth.


Whoever chose the name “Maelfa” [ˡməɪlva] for the shopping centre is unknown, but Llanedeyrn has probably the only instance in Wales of “Maelfa” as a place name. It is a word used in nineteenth-century literary Welsh meaning "shop, market-place", first seen in 1803 in the Welsh-English Dictionary of lexicographer William Owen-Pughe and apparently coined by him. It is literally “profit-place” (mael = profit, advantage, benefit) and (-fa = suffix meaning “place”). “Mael” is in fact from Middle English “vail” (= profit, return, proceeds), from Old French “vail”, from Latin, and related to the English word “value”.[8]

Housing Estates[edit]

The housing estates in Llanedeyrn are: Coed-Y-Gores, St Phillip Evans Court, Bryn Fedw, Maelfa, Eastside Quarter, Roundwood, Chapelwood, Bryn Fedw, Pennsylvania, Jefferson Court, Lincoln Court, Ael-Y-Bryn, Coed Ederyn, Wellwood.


Location of the Llanedeyrn community within Cardiff

In 2016 Llanedeyrn became one of four new communities in Cardiff,[9] having previously been part of the Pentwyn community.[10] However, like many communities in Cardiff, it does not have a community council.

For elections to Cardiff Council Llanedeyrn is part of the Pentwyn electoral ward.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dic Mortimer (23 November 2012). "Shall we dance". Retrieved 22 August 2017. You say Lanedin, I say Llanedurn…
  2. ^ Sabine Baring-Gould, John Fisher (1908). "The Lives of the British Saints". The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  3. ^ Dylan Foster Evans (6 August 2018). "Blog Gwadd Amgueddfa Cymru. Lleisiau coll Cymraeg Caerdydd. Enwau'r ddinas - o Blwyf Mair i Lanetarn". Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  4. ^ Samuel Lewis (1834). "A Topographical Dictionary Of Wales, Comprising The Several Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate And Market Towns, Parishes, Chapelries, And Townships, With Historical And Statistical Descriptions; Illustrated By Maps Of The Different Counties". S. Lewis and Co. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  5. ^ John Hobson Mathews (1858-1914) (1905). "Cardiff Records, Being Materials For A History Of The County Borough From The Earliest Times (1898-1911)". Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "The History Of Cardiff's Suburbs - Llanedeyrn and Pentwyn". Cardiffians.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  7. ^ "The New Penn". Cardiffpubs.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  8. ^ "maelfa (1)". Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  9. ^ Ruth Mosalski (23 March 2015) "No longer will housebuyers be able to mock estate agents... Pontcanna is set to be one of four city 'areas' given official status", Wales Online. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  10. ^ The City and County of Cardiff (Communities) Order – 2016 No. 1155 (W. 277) (PDF). Welsh Statutory Instruments. 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′49″N 3°09′05″W / 51.51361°N 3.15139°W / 51.51361; -3.15139